We get our hands on Gigabyte’s M912V netbook

NVISION —We’ve been waiting impatiently ever since Gigabyte first let word slip of its upcoming M912V netbook last month.  Today on the Nvision show floor, I got to leave my greasy fingerprints all over one for the first time, and it looks quite impressive.  You can see a full slate of pictures in the gallery below, fortified with booth babes, no less.  As previously announced, the M912V has an 8.9" screen with 1280×768 resolution, which makes for a very high pixel density.  Like many netbooks, this one comes with an Atom processor, a gig of DDR2 memory, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 1.3 megapixel webcam, and three USB ports.  However, the M912V treads into new territory with a screen that’s touch-sensitive, swivels 180 degrees, and folds down for tablet-style use.  It even rotates into portrait mode if you like.  I got a chance to try it, and scrolling with a finger on the thing is ridiculously fun.

Gigabyte has also taken things up a notch by including an ExpressCard slot, which is ready and waiting for a cell-network modem card, for true "netbook"-style connectivity.

Somehow, Gigabyte has managed to shoehorn all of this functionality into a package roughly the size of an Eee PC 901.  Like the 901, the M912V’s keyboard is pretty small, but it has good tactile feedback and could prove decent enough for email and IM-style typing.

If the M912V has a weakness, it’s the rated four-hour battery life, which is about half that of a 901.  In exchange, though, it offers a potent combination of features the Eee PC line lacks.

The M912V is slated to ship next month, and will be coming to North America at a starting price of $799.  The demo unit we saw had a 160GB mobile hard drive, although up to 250GB is possible.  The OS choices should include the tablet edition of Windows XP and Windows Vista Basic.  Prices should drop once the M912V settles into the market, although the initial price tag doesn’t seem too bad considering the functionality involved.  This is no cut-rate laptop, but it is a pretty well-appointed ultraportable tablet PC for well under a grand.  Gigabyte may even integrate an antenna and digital TV receiver into a future version of this netbook to further sweeten the deal.

Stay tuned to TR for a full review, of course.

Comments closed
    • gerryg
    • 12 years ago

    I’ve pretty much decided that if it’s bigger than an iPhone or Blackberry and has anything near a full-size keyboard, then the Atom processor isn’t going to give me enough performance for the range of apps I want to run. As a 2nd laptop, not bad. If it were for a kid, not bad either (unless they will play games on it, too). But for an average user who does internet, office, multimedia, and occasional games, Atom just doesn’t have it. Maybe the Nano is good enough when paired with decent GPU & memory. I’m not terribly concerned with battery life. It’s rare that I’m away from a power plug for hours at a time. 3 hours seems like a reasonable target, but even 2 hours I’d live with.

    • Willard
    • 12 years ago

    “Fortified with booth babes.”
    (sheds a tear)
    I love this site. Not just for the booth babes, but also for the “fortified.”

    • phileasfogg
    • 12 years ago

    This notebook doesn’t have any NV silicon on it, AFAIK. So what the heck is it doing at the nVision conference?

    • UberGerbil
    • 12 years ago

    I’d still like to see someone do one of these things without a keyboard. Not one that tilts, not one that roates; no keyboard whatsoever. Just a touch screen with the computer guts inside it. A pure websurfing netpad. (Of course it would have USB ports, so you could attach an external keyboard when necessary). Since these things are going to be a 3rd computer, or a secondary laptop, it wouldn’t be the disadvantage it would be if it were someone’s main machine.

      • Voldenuit
      • 12 years ago

      There have been a few slate tablets, unfortunately, they were not as successful in the market. Maybe now that Tablet OS functionality is more mature, we might see a renaissance of the formfactor.

      And USB keyboard? Forget that. Think Bluetooth.

        • UberGerbil
        • 12 years ago

        They were also really expensive. There might be a different (and more viable) market niche if they’re built and priced like a nettop.

      • eitje
      • 12 years ago
      • A_Pickle
      • 12 years ago

      g[

        • UberGerbil
        • 12 years ago

        Because I don’t want the bulk. As purely a web-surfing tool, used much the way many people use their iPhones, it would work fine (and be far more usable in that role than iPhone). This would be a 3rd or 4th machine; when I need a keyboard, I already have a compact laptop. So the only reason I would buy one is if it offered something novel. A pure pad without the keyboard bulk would be that.

          • Trymor
          • 12 years ago

          Yes, something to leave on the coffee table. Remote into all of ones other machines, if you just need to do something quick. See something interesting on TV? Pick up your ‘NetPad’ and check it out. Of course some kind of instant on, ala linux in BIOS, would be mandatory, along with an inductive charging pad to set on the coffee table that can double as a bluetooth keyboard/vertical angled cradle. Also, some software to control and stream sound to your bluetooth audio receiver would be nice too. Read all your books, stream your sitcoms off your NAS while you sit outside on youe lounge chair on the deck with your bluetooth weatherproof speakers.

          For no more than $500 U.S. (mabey $600 with the inductive charging pad/BT keyboard)

          Lets see, what else did I leave out? Guess I want one of those…

          • Wireball
          • 12 years ago

          A bluetooth keyboard clip-on attachment, so you wouldn’t have to carry two different-sized loose pieces of computer equipment to have the option of bringing a keyboard, would be nice.

          I suppose you could achieve the same thing with velcro.

    • steelcity_ballin
    • 12 years ago

    There’s nothing wrong with mixing tits and technology. Relax.

      • eitje
      • 12 years ago

      used to be, TR had a no-booth-babe policy. that’s what they’re talking about.

        • A_Pickle
        • 12 years ago

        Didn’t E3 do the same thing right before… ohhh….

        …I think I’m beginning to see a correlation…

          • UberGerbil
          • 12 years ago

          Yeah Comdex did that too, and died about a decade later. There may be a correlation, but I don’t think it’s as tight as you think.

      • UberGerbil
      • 12 years ago

      “There’s nothing wrong with mixing tits and technology. Relax.”

      I suggest you walk into the office of the highest-ranked woman in your company and announce that. Then get back to us with the results. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

    • eitje
    • 12 years ago

    funky shift on the keyboard, arg!

    • Spotpuff
    • 12 years ago

    Getting tired of manufacturers including 3 cell or 4 cell batteries in their netbooks for 2.5 hours of battery life. They tend to overstate the battery life as well; 3 hours of life while idling is a worthless statistic since no one’s going to idle the thing for 3 hours.

    I wish the costs would come down too; interesting devices but all of the first gen ones seem to have some sort of problem be it functionality or design.

    • FireGryphon
    • 12 years ago

    Whatever happened to the no booth babe policy? :-\

    Can these netbooks that are coming out now power an external display well?

      • FroBozz_Inc
      • 12 years ago

      Hooray for Booth Babes!

      • titan
      • 12 years ago

      I was thinking the same thing. If this keeps up, my girlfriend will think I’m not reading this site just for the articles.

    • continuum
    • 12 years ago

    $800 for an Atom-based ultraportable tablet vs. twice that for a typical 12″ tablet… admittedly the typical tablet is waaaay faster.

    Hmmm… I dunno. There’s definitely a market for devices like this– I can imagine tons of uses– but I’m not sure I could make the sacrifice in processing power when I can get a typical netbook for $500ish..

      • HiggsBoson
      • 12 years ago

      I’d like to see the option of paying less for a non-tablet based offering.

      Still I don’t think I’ll take serious notice of this category until Intel’s 2nd generation (post 945-era) or VIA’a Nano-based platforms start hitting.

    • Jive
    • 12 years ago

    Tell me Scott you didn’t go get a pedicure just for nvision, now did ya?

      • titan
      • 12 years ago

      You mean manicure?

    • dragmor
    • 12 years ago

    Looking forward to the review of this laptop. It would be nice if it had the option 2gb, a 32gb SSD and Vista business.

    In the review could you spend some time checking the screen quality, one of the problems with tablets is that the tech behind them limits image quality and viewing angles.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 12 years ago

    Ok Scott now /[

      • way2strong
      • 12 years ago

      body 9, face 8

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 12 years ago

        I got the left one, you get the right one.

          • way2strong
          • 12 years ago

          straight with me

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